London Craft Week returns to the capital for its fifth year from 8-12 May 2019. This festival, held in venues all over London, celebrates outstanding British and international creativity, and although this year's programme has not been announced yet if past years are anything to go by there is lots to be excited about! We are promised over 200 craft-focused events on the programme from workshops, talks, demonstrations and exhibitions, all from a diverse line-up of both established and emerging creative makers from the UK and beyond. You can look back at last year's programme of events to get a taste of what could be on offer this year and keep an eye on the London Craft Week website for 2019 programme updates.
"Whether your intention is to consume or simply converse if you appreciate beauty and the value of craftsmanship, then London Craft Week is one of the month’s must-visit events." Charlotte Abrahams FT How To Spend It
London Craft Week began in 2015 when founder Guy Salter realised that there was a huge creative area that wasn't being celebrated in the same way as fashion, art, film or design. Grayson Perry opened the inaugural, star-studded event held at the V&A Museum, but throughout, the activity of craft and making was (and still is) the main focus.
"This is a great moment acknowledging that craft is woven into many parts of our lives. It is the place where we connect with the materials all around us. Craftsman working with their hands are relevant to modern life and encompass so many businesses from tailors and jewellers to car manufacturers and joiners, ensuring that Craft isn’t some sort of nostalgic thing." Grayson Perry
Obviously, these are all values that we hold at Ray Stitch too, and although we celebrate craft every day, we couldn't let London Craft Week pass by without getting involved so we have put together some very special events.
We will be running our hugely popular 'Boro' stitch and repair workshops and a class for beginners to learn the art of Shibori (think Japanese tie-dye). We are also pleased to welcome back textile artists Richard McVetis and Fran Burden who will be leading classes in hand embroidery in their own distinct styles.
A finalist of the 2018 Loewe Craft Prize, Richard McVetis is one of the leading contemporary hand embroidery artists in the UK today. His minimalist work is an endless exploration, not just of form but also of the reclamation and potential of process and repetition within stitch. Fran Burden's work explores how process and making can be both adaptable and purposeful: she explores pattern-making by using cross-stitch on heavy unbleached canvas to great effect.
If you would prefer to try your hand at some more free-form stitching then you could make your own improvised patchwork quilt with Forest + Found, or let your imagination run wild as you design and make a creature with folk-artist Julie Arkell.
Forest + Found is a sustainable craft and design partnership set up by Max Bainbridge and Abigail Booth in late 2014. Both having a background in Fine Art, their practice has an emphasis on material and process. Working with traditional methods of craft they produce contemporary wooden objects and hand stitched textiles. Julie Arkell is one of the UK’s best recognised contemporary folk artists. Working in papier-maché and mixed media, Julie combines craft and fine art techniques to create distinctly personal creatures. She uses a mix of vintage fabrics, scraps of poems and words she loves, as well as hand knitted textiles and stitching to make her dolls.
On the Friday night we will be hosting a discussion panel with the talented textile artists mentioned above. There will be a Chair to lead the conversation, but the 4 artists will talk freely about the connection between their work and traditional crafting processes and there will be a chance to ask your own questions at the end of the evening.
Booking for these events is open now so have a look on our website for more details and to book your place. We can't wait for Craft to take over London in May and we will be sure to keep you up to date with any news as we get it!